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Wine: Think Outside the Glass!

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseJul 17, 2021 | 0 comments

Wine might just be the best beverage of all time, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with sipping it out of a glass the way the vintner intended. But there are plenty of reasons why you might want to flip the script now and again. Maybe you’re hosting a party and need to dazzle your wine-loving friends. Or perhaps you want to showcase the flavor of a particular bottle in an unexpected way. Of course, there are also those times when you open up a bottle and it’s just not quite working for you. But fear not! If a wine is too sweet, too dry, or just not to your liking, you don’t have to watch it glug down the drain. With a little creativity, there’s a good chance you can put it to use. In this article, I’m going to jump down the rabbit hole to explore some non-traditional ways to use wine. Most of these ideas are inspired by different bottles I’ve received in wine subscriptions over the years, so I’ve made sure to credit my vino muses where applicable. Let’s do this!

Rosé Watermelon Keg

 

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A post shared by Williams Sonoma (@williamssonoma)

The Inspiration: Winc‘s Cocomero

I feel like I call out this bottle in nearly all of my wine round-up posts (can you tell it’s one of my favorites?), but I couldn’t kick off this list without it. Winc‘s Cocomero is a light and refreshing wine that tastes just like tart lemons and watermelon, and a bottle of wine inspired by watermelon is BEGGING to be served out of one… right? Mix up this bottle of vino with some lemonade or sparkling water and you’re ready to party, or substitute a bottle of Cava mixed with watermelon juice. You’ll need to provide your own melon (aim for a medium to large one that’s sure to hold all the liquid), but you can pick up a tap online.

 

Wine Jello Shots

The Inspiration: Firstleaf‘s Beraelia 2018 California White Wine

My favorite white wines are crisp and dry, and while I love pairing spicy Thai food with a glass of sweet-ish Riesling, sugary bottles don’t often get finished in my house. This bottle I received from Firstleaf wasn’t sickeningly sweet, but there was something about it that made me want to get creative. I thought back to the ubiquitous jello shots that used to pop up at college parties, and I thought, “why not?” I mixed it up with some unflavored gelatin, sugar, and water, and an obsession was born! Wine-flavored jello shots work best with wine that’s already a bit sweet, but you can always add a little extra sugar. Feeling extra ambitious? Take a cue from the Instagram image above and whip up a jello masterpiece by layering complementary bottles of white, rosé, and red!

 

Wine Popsicles

The Inspiration: Wine Awesomeness‘ 2019 Just Malbec Please

2019 Just Malbec Please from Wine Awesomeness

A lot of people don’t associate red wine with hot weather, but I double-dog dare you to change their mind with some Malbec popsicles. Malbec is known for its jammy fruit flavor, so it pairs like a dream with fresh berries. Purée some berries of your choice (blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries are all great picks), mix in some simple syrup and red wine, pour into molds, and you’re on your way to mind-blowing, adult-friendly summer popsicles. Feel free to mix up a custom recipe that’s tailored to your own personal tastes, but if you need some assistance you can Google “red wine berry popsicles” for lots of inspiration and ratio suggestions.

 

Frosé

 

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A post shared by House of Wine (@houseofwine_gr)

The Inspiration: Winc‘s Au-Delà Rosé

Everyone loves a modern classic, and you can’t go wrong with frosé. If you’ve never made it before, all you need is a blender: freeze a bottle of rosé in a shallow pan for about 6 hours and then scrape it into a blender along with some strawberry simple syrup, crushed ice, and lemon juice and blend away. (Find a full recipe here.) You’ll want to pick a bottle of rosé with bold flavors that will shine through the other ingredients, and you can always add a shot or two of vodka if you’d like to punch up the strength. Blend to order for the best texture and maximum “oohs” and “aahs” from awaiting guests.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

 

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A post shared by Campbells Wines (@campbellswines)

The Inspiration: Firstleaf‘s Ophidian 2018 Pinotage

I’ve been baking professionally for over 10 years now, and I have a little secret to share with you. You can punch up the flavor of pretty much any chocolate cake recipe by swapping out some of the liquid for red wine. Say the recipe calls for a cup of water or milk? Knock it back to 2/3 or 3/4 of a cup and top off the rest with vino. (This even works with boxed cake mix. Just ask Betty Crocker!) Personally, I can sometimes be a little picky about my reds, but wines that are too sweet or too acidic to appeal to my drinking palate still taste great in cake form! Different varietals tend to add slightly different flavors to the batter: expect bright cherry flavor from Pinot Noir, complex earthy berry notes from Cabernet Sauvignon, and hints of blueberry jam and spicy licorice when you mix in some Zinfandel. Want a recipe? Check out this one I shared in a previous Firstleaf review!

 

Granita

 

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A post shared by Bottleneck Wine Bar (@bottleneckwine)

Granita is a semi-frozen Italian dessert that’s a little bit reminiscent of a snow cone, and it’s one of my favorite ways to shake up a summer dinner party. Granita can be flavored with non-boozy beverages like coffee or fruit juice, but I’m a big fan of granita al vino rosso (red wine granita). Ingredient-wise, all you need to make it is red wine, water, and sugar. You mix up the ingredients, freeze the mixture on a tray, and scrape it up with a fork every couple of hours to ensure peak slushiness. Want to stay true to the dessert’s origins? Reach for  Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, or Montepulciano.

 

Sangria

Last but certainly not least is sangria, pretty much the perfect way to jazz up any bottle of vino. Got a bottle that you don’t love? Sangria will fix it. Want to enjoy your favorite wine in a new way? Sangria will kick it up a notch. As for how you make it, I’m sure you know the drill: add wine into a pitcher, top off with fruit and juice of your choice (and maybe some brandy), and voila! Deliciousness. Red wine sangria is probably the most common, but I’m a big fan of using white wine or rosé for a light and refreshing twist on the classic. A few months ago, I hosted a sangria-making challenge, and I’ve been on a kick ever since. Do you have a favorite sangria recipe? Please share it in the comments!

 


What do you think? Have you tried any of these for yourself? Or do you have another suggestion to share? Let us know in the comments section below!

Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.

Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.
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Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.